Hey, Camp Parents!
Visiting Day is undoubtedly going to be a big day for you and your kid! After all it means that two of their worlds are merging for them—their home life and summer camp. Your kid will likely love it, but could be a little overwhelmed by it as well. Just the same as the separation of summer camp can produce some homesickness, this sudden reunion can cause your child to undergo some unpredictable behavior.
That’s why I’m writing this two-part Blog series for today and next Tuesday, to give you some tips for visiting your kid at camp. Today, I’m giving you just one tip—or one Cardinal Rule to keep in mind for Visiting Day:
It’s ALL ABOUT Your Kid!
Having said that, here are four key tips and pointers within this Chief Rule:
Visit on Visiting Day
If it isn’t ‘Visiting Day’, ‘Family Day,’ ‘Parents’ Weekend’, or whatever your camp calls it, then you shouldn’t be visiting. Visiting unannounced on a day that isn’t scheduled for visiting is a bad idea. All it does is create envious friends, provoke homesickness for your kid, and deter you’re his or her blooming sense of independence.
Don’t Plan Anything
Pretty much everything about visiting day is sure to be out of your control so try to just go with it as it unfurls. Your kid has so much to show you, there’s no time to spare on something you had planned. Let your kid give you the tour. And throughout the tour, try to reserve any harsh judgments. When kids are expressing their excitement and interests, don’t make them defend themselves about these things.
Don’t Give Exact Times
It’s best to give a window for your arrival instead of an exact time. You’ll be able to stick to a time range much better than you can an exact time. There’s no telling what hiccups or snags might delay you. Instead of saying ‘9 am,’ say you’ll get there sometime between ‘9 and 10.’
If You Can’t Make It…
Huge distances, emergency situations—sometimes, Visiting Day is just impossible. Try working something else out. It isn’t the same as seeing their own parents, but kids love going out with their friends’ families on Visiting Days. You’ll need to call, write, fax, or email the camp to make this arrangement and give your permission to have your kid leave the camp with somebody else.
If you can, it’s good to set plans like this up weeks in advance in order to give your kid some time to adjust to the idea. And check out ‘The Summer Camp Handbook,’ written by Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski for more excellent information on the topic.
Tune in next Tuesday to read about your kid’s reaction to your reunion. And, as always, thanks for reading.